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This Strange Land - a Reluctant Pilgrimage

Jan 30, 2021

Usually we equate ‘healing’ with ‘cure’ or with eliminating the disease. This can, however, be cause for great anxiety, pressure and feelings of failure when such ‘healing’ does not take place. In the case of many chronic diseases and in the case of disabilities, for example, the concept of ‘healing’ cannot be limited to a preconceived result. Here, we would do well to consider that living with one’s condition in a courageous, dignified and graceful manner also represents a high degree of healing. And for this, an entirely different kind of support is needed.

With this in mind, Heart and Soul Coaching authored a short book, as an emotional guide for those whose life is themed by a chronic health condition. The Amazon link to “This Strange Land” – a Reluctant Pilgrimage cannot be included here, but below you will find a collection of quotes from the story that takes you, the unwanting traveler, through the strange realm where you never thought you would find yourself.

The very things that make us human are not to be found in our biology in the first place. When our biology falters and fails us, we can either collapse with it or access from within ourselves a strength, a vitality, and a sense of meaning that surpass our mere body.

For you, as for each of us, there is a place you would rather be. But healing is found in making the best of where you are.

Your shadow is not here to bring darkness, but to allow you to find your light behind it.

When themed by a chronic health condition, your life, this brief passage between two Oceans of Light, exists in the vast space that separates what you want from what you can. Yet it is in that often barren, bleak space where you can develop your greatest strengths, insights and wisdom.

The fate of chronic illness is reserved for only those who have it within them to bear the highest task a human being can possibly bear: to create meaning and purpose and light when they appear to be missing most.

Although you may not survive this passage, healing can be found, because healing means becoming whole, even if your body, that transient cloak, falls away.

Before this is over, you will learn that love is not a feeling in the first place, but a force that is accessible at any time.

Your heart will discover that the abandoned, the castaways, and the scatterlings are in reality the warriors and the mighty. As are you.

Here it is for you to be your worst self or your best self. Please do not ever doubt your strength and abilities. This may not be the life you expected, certainly not the life you would have chosen, and yet it is yours. Not because you do not deserve any better, but because you are the only one in the world who can make something of it and, in so doing, realize your life’s purpose.

In your own unique way, you carry your wound in this life. Always remember that it has found you not to destroy you and keep you from what you wish to become, but to destroy your illusions and push you into who you really are.

Is it possible to say that your illness has not taken away your life’s meaning, but that it is the very purpose of your life right now, and that meaning is created by how you will live with your condition?

Maybe your ‘loss of self’ is not an end result, but the first step in the search for your real identity?

What makes us really human is not our biology, neither is it to be measured by performance and achievement, but by how we ennoble our existence in the face of deprivation and suffering.

As only ploughed and fallow earth in the midst of winter can receive new seed and give it life, maybe so your psyche and your sense of who you are, need to be broken up and surrendered before who you truly are, can be given life?

Shadows are caused by the light behind them. And so, your capacity for suffering intensely reflects also your capacity to love intensely.

Suffering is a formative force in the universe, as are light and love.

The limitations and restraints you are burdened with matter not, but it is in your response to them where you can develop your highest values.

Maybe, in a way that you cannot right now perceive, this illness has brought you into the very place you actually need to be: your ‘Soul’s Waiting Room’?

Surrender is not what we usually consider it to be: giving up or showing defeat. Surrender is the voluntary stepping back, putting yourself out of the way and defusing your inner conflict so that a space is created in which another impulse can enter.

This can be considered one of the deepest mysteries of human existence: to transcend physical life itself by finding meaning when it appears to be missing most.

This could be a less well-known process of recovery: the transformation of what at first is experienced as being without hope, without a next step, and without an imaginable solution into a new and higher expression of the conflict.

In the vast universe that surrounds us, there are nebulas and enormous areas without clear form. These are realms that exist between being and non-being. And it is in these nebulas that stars are born. They are like cosmic incubators, shining with brilliant light, yet they have no substance of their own. Likewise, it is within your seemingly formless experiences where your stars are born.

Your strength does not come from what you can do, but from overcoming what you thought you couldn’t.

Did your sorrow, in some mysterious manner, perhaps refine and strengthen everything that is best in you?

Fate has pushed you away from the shore: the end of the world as you know it. But we know that no person who feared losing sight of the shore ever discovered new worlds.

This then, is the essence of your journey through this Strange Land – the ordinary is lost so that the extraordinary may emerge.

Arjan Bogaers

‘This Strange Land’ © ISBN 978-0-620-90324-0 (e-book)

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